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Beware The Spoilers
by Michele Christopher
Beware the spoilers. If your team is trying to make a playoff run, these are the teams that are out to get you. They are the teams that have basically no shot at getting into the post season and they want to drag your favorite team down with them. It does not matter if your team happens to have the best record in the NFL and they are facing a team with the worst record in the NFL, you need to be wary of these teams just as much as if you were facing a legit playoff contender.
The spoiler team will rise up and bite you like a cornered beast, then the next thing you know, poof! It’s good-bye to that playoff bye week or even worse, good-bye to that playoff shot entirely.
Right now there are five teams in the AFC and four teams in the NFC fighting for the 2 Wildcard spots in each Conference. All of these teams have a chance to get in heading into the final four games of the year. All of these teams will be facing so called ‘weaker teams’ during this last month. All it takes is to let up on the gas, take a play or two off, and you’re done for, especially if you are playing one of those teams that is just on the playoff cusp, the ones that are just out of reach of making it into the NFL post season. These teams want to ruin it for you and show the league that they are not pushovers.
Every team wants to build and improve and if you can’t make the playoffs, why not do your best to take out somebody who can? Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I know first hand after watching my team, The Patriots, nearly blow it last week against the lowly Detroit Lions.
Last week proved to be very interesting. With The Colts and Ravens, two teams that looked to be sure fire locks for the one and two spots in the AFC, both losing, things have tightened up at the top of the AFC Conference. Indy and San Diego are both 10-2, Baltimore and New England are both 9-3 and there are two bye week spots still up for grabs.
In the NFC, you have an even bigger logjam at the top with Chicago standing alone at 10-2 and three teams below them at 8-4.
It’s going to be interesting, and fun to watch over the next few weeks, to see how these playoff scenarios work out, both for the Conference leaders and the Wildcard teams..
Oh one other thing: ROOSTER SAUCE
Now onto the games:
Cleveland at Pittsburgh – Neither team has a shot at the playoffs right now, so both of them are basically playing for pride and the fact that they kind of hate each other’s guts. I’ll take Pittsburgh.
Atlanta at Tampa Bay – Atlanta is still fighting for a playoff spot but they have to go up against divisional rival Tampa Bay. Remember what I said about spoilers? Perfect example. Tampa Bay.
Baltimore at Kansas City - This is going to be a huge game. Huge. Baltimore is hurting after last week’s loss knocked them out of the #2 spot in the AFC. They are going into a very hostile environment against a team that is trying to claw it’s way into a Wildcard spot. Did I mention this game is huge? HUGE.
Indianapolis at Jacksonville – Indy has faltered lately, (which I love) and they are starting to look a little vulnerable. Fresh off a loss to divisional rival Tennessee, they’ve got another big game against another divisional rival, The Jacksonville Jaguars, who, you guessed it, just happen to be fighting for a playoff spot as a Wildcard team. I’m picking Jacksonville. Ok, I’d be picking them anyway, just because they happen to be playing Indy, who I always pick against, but I really think Jax has a legit shot to win this one.
Minnesota at Detroit – Do I have to talk about this one? Both teams are out of it and it’s getting late at night, so I’ll just say that Detroit is terrible, even if they did scare the bejesus out of me last week against The Pats, and I’ll take Minny.
New England at Miami – This is a big game. That whole spoiler thing comes fully into play here. New England is facing one of its archrivals as well as a Divisional nemesis, The Miami Fish. Miami is 5-7 but they have been improving as the season moves on. They are coming off a tough loss to Jacksonville last week and they are playing at home. The Fish would LOVE to take a game from The Pats, who have the chance to clinch the AFC East if they can win this game and The Jets lose. The Pats almost let one get by them last week and they know what’s at stake in this one. They should be up for this game. It should be a good one to watch.
N.Y. Giants at Carolina - These two teams are both 6-6 and are locked in a battle for one of the NFC Wildcard spots. Giants coach Tom Coughlin might spontaneously combust on the sidelines if they lose this game.
Oakland at Cincinnati – Cincy is in it, Oakland is completely out of it. Oakland is so bad, I don’t think they even qualify as a spoiler at this point.
Philadelphia at Washington – Philly fans, take heart and check the standings, if the playoff started tomorrow, which they don’t, but if they did, you’d be in. Donovan McNabb is out for they year but backup Jeff Garcia does not suck. Washington is not that good. I have a good feeling about Philly in this one.
Tennessee at Houston – Two non-playoff teams. Tennessee. Next…
Green Bay at San Francisco – See above. Green Bay. Next.
Seattle at Arizona – If Seattle loses to Arizona, who like Oakland is so bad, I don’t know if they even qualify as a spoiler, I’ll… I’ll… I’ll be very surprised. How about that?
Buffalo at N.Y. Jets – This one has spoiler written all over it. The Jets are holding onto the last playoff spot in the AFC right now. The Bills are a decent team and they are a divisional rival. They are going to do their best to ruin it for The J-E-T-S.
Denver at San Diego – Wow. Denver has really fallen and fallen hard. They are 7-5 but they are 3 games back in the Wildcard chase due to conference tiebreakers. The Broncos need a win here to keep their playoff hopes alive. They have zero margin for error. San Diego is holding onto the number two seed and they want to keep it. It’s a divisional game and both teams have a lot on the line. Adding flavor, much like ROOSTER SAUCE does, neither team likes each other very much. This one will be fun to watch.
New Orleans at Dallas – This should be a good game with both 8-4 teams jockeying for the bye week in the NFC.
Chicago at St. Louis – People are not giving Chicago a lot of respect it seems, even with their 10-2 record. They have had a few squeakers go their way against marginal teams. They need to win this game to keep from falling into the rest of the pack in the NFC and also prove they can dominate a team they ‘should’ be able to beat.
Ok. Is that it? I think that’s all the games. I don’t see any left on the list. Enjoy the games and have a great weekend everybody!
Ernie is not on Rooster Sauces payroll either. We swear.